Executions must not violate rights obligations: HRCP

LAHORE - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has urged the government to urgently institute safeguards to ensure that a generalised resumption of executions does not violate Pakistan’s human rights obligations.

According to Justice Project Pakistan, 8,200 people are on death row in Pakistan and 477 people have been executed since December 2014. As many as 2,393 Pakistanis were executed in Saudi Arabian jails.

According to the World Coalition against Death Penalty, 104 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, seven countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes and 30 countries are abolitionists in practice. According to statistics, 23 countries carried out executions in 2016. In 2016, top five executioners were China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

According to Amnesty International, it is believed that thousands of executions took place in 2016.

In Pakistan, executions decreased by 239 in 2016. Indonesia executed four people, Taiwan one, Singapore four, Japan three and Malaysia nine. Amnesty has not given any estimates for North Korea and Vietnam.

South Eastern countries like Maldives and the Philippines took steps in the wrong direction, towards resumptions of executions, after more than six decades, according to Amnesty International.

In a statement on World Day against the Death Penalty, HRCP said: “As we observe the 15th World Day against the Death Penalty, HRCP calls upon the government to take stock of the pressing issues that have arisen ever since it terminated the moratorium in December 2014.

“In addition to various and well-documented challenges that a generalised recourse to capital punishment presents, there is an urgent need to introduce safeguards in instances where age of the convict or his or her mental or physical ability is in question.” Furthermore, the socio-economic status of a convict tends to be directly proportional to their risk of being sentenced to death and execution. This year the World Day against Death Penalty is bringing into focus the link between poverty and capital punishment.

“While HRCP calls upon the government to suspend the death penalty in the country as a first step towards abolition, it demands that these new issues should be urgently addressed through a conscious policy and not merely through last minute action in response to pleas from civil society in individual cases." HRCP also staged a demo outside the Lahore Press Club.


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